Illustration by Benjamin Currie ’15
Illustration by Benjamin Currie ’15

Each year, Pollen Midwest selects fifty of the most inspiring and accomplished leaders from across Minnesota. One of the people chosen this year is faculty member Andrea Jenkins.

Jenkins is a queer, black, transgender artist, organizer, and activist with more than twenty-five years of public service experience. As the first oral historian for the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota, Jenkins is providing a platform for transgender people to share their stories. She is working tirelessly to advance understanding, inclusion, and equity. 

Jenkins is also running for a seat on the Minneapolis City Council. If she wins, she will become the first transgender person elected to office in Minnesota and one of the highest-ranking transgender elected officials in the country.

In addition, John Davis ’84 served on this year's selection committee. He is the founder and executive director of Lanesboro Arts. His work with the company led to the City Council of Lanesboro, Minnesota, declaring the entire community an art campus. He has over twenty-five years of experience with small town and rural creative social change work, and is a national speaker on rural arts issues, risk, and innovation. 

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